tip off


The economics are important but let’s not forget – health is a human right

The current Federal Government is very keen to tell us what our responsibilities are as citizens of this beautiful country. Apparently we need to engage in some “heavy lifting”  and there is some team or something we are supposed to join. When it comes to health care there is a rising tide of instruction. We must [...]

FRANCES GILHAM | September 20, 2014 | ALCOHOL | |

The Health Wrap: experimental medicine, everyday racism and equity

By Frances Gilham Ebola, experimental medicine and evidence The Ebola crisis is worsening. ABC news reported on Liberia’s plea to the US for help, and Barack Obama’s response to send 3,000 troops to West Africa. A fascinating article in the New York Times described the work of a doctor who has returned to his childhood [...]

MICHELLE HUGHES | September 18, 2014 | CO-PAYMENTS | 1 |

Five more reasons we should not have co-payments on GP visits

The GP co-payment had a brief period in the sun recently when the MRFF Action Group was formed to support the medical research fund. The health sector was quick to respond that while the Medical research fund was a positive development its funding source was unacceptable. In a press release, Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of AHHA, [...]

MICHELLE HUGHES | September 18, 2014 | CLIMATE CHANGE | |

Action on Climate Change? I’m busy that day.

The UN Climate  Summit will be held on the 23rd of September in New York and is expected to host at least 125 heads of state, including the President of the United States, making it the “largest gathering seeking to tackle climate change in history”. The meeting is a pre-cursor to a meeting in Paris next [...]


People Power for Health Equity

The  Australian Health Promotion and Chronic Diseases Network Conference was held in Alice Springs earlier this month. For those who missed it, Cat Street from the Australian Health Promotion Association provides a tweet by tweet guide. Cat writes: Day 1 of Equity @ The Centre 2014. I pay my respects to elders past and present and wish to [...]

MICHELLE HUGHES | September 16, 2014 | HEALTH WORKFORCE | 1 |

Shades of grey in the rural doctor story

Thanks to Greg Mundy, CEO of Rural Health Workforce Australia * for this reflection on the changing nature of the rural health workforce.

Despite what you read in the media, a good thing is happening to the medical workforce in rural and remote Australia.

It’s actually growing.

MICHELLE HUGHES | September 15, 2014 | FEDERAL BUDGET 2014-15 | 1 |

Scientists precious? Indeed they are.

Today in an Editorial the Sydney Morning Herald  published its intention to “campaign for the federal government to outline its vision for the country’s future, a plan that brings together science, innovation and education”. This may be in no small part due to the the federal government’s unclear commitment to science and innovation in Australia. Budget cuts to the CSIRO and other organisations seem to be in direct contradiction to the Prime Ministers statement that “science is at the heart of a country’s competitiveness”.  A future vision for science in Australia is not made any clearer by the lack of a Minister for Science and an industry Minister who suggests that scientists who see this as an issue are “precious petals”.

Ahead of Q and A’s all scientist panel tonight, Dr Andrew Weatherall shares his thoughts on the Minister’s comments.

Dr Weatherall writes:

At first I thought it might be some breakthrough. Possibly the phrase “precious petals” had been deployed by a minister with some of the responsibility for science as he described his excitement at some new bit of amazing research.

No. Of course not. He was taking another swipe at the very group he is alleged to be “passionate” about. It’s a passion we should trust passion because he is the “grandson and son of a scientist”. Maybe claiming scientific ancestors is the new equivalent to “some of my best friends are women”.


The 7 wonders of health funding

I recently had the privilege of participating in the Consumers Health Forum’s ‘Health in a time of change’ national workshop in Melbourne. The Workshop brought together a large number of consumers and other health stakeholders to debate current issues in health policy and advocacy. Copies of many of the presentations are available here, including an overview [...]


Deadly Choices: better ways of doing health promotion

Mainstream health promotion has failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, according to Karen McPhail-Bell, a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology. In the article below, she argues that those working in the field could learn from strengths-based programs like The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices. It offers lessons for all health promotion practice, she [...]

JENNIFER DOGGETT | September 12, 2014 | FEDERAL BUDGET 2014-15 | 1 |

Time to put some more health funding options on the table

One of the more puzzling aspects of the current debate over health funding is the lack of new or innovative policy options being proposed by the Government and others from the conservative side of politics.  Given the level of panic being invoked about our alleged health funding crisis (disputed by many economists) it would seem logical that policy makers should be searching for viable options to combat the so-called health spending tsunami.   

Yet apart from the GP co-payment, there are few, if any, realistic policy options being put on the table for discussion.  The co-payment proposal has clearly not been accepted by either consumers or health care providers (for good reasons, as discussed at length here and here).  But since the failure of the Government to convince stakeholders that increased primary care co-payments are the way forward, there has been no ‘Plan B’ on offer to reform health funding arrangements to meet the changing needs of the community. 

The only contribution to the debate from the right thus far has been a proposal for individual health savings accounts (based on the Singapore model) from David Gadiel and Jeremy Sammut at the Centre for Independent Studies.  This option reflects the Government’s aim of encouraging consumers to contribute more in direct funding to their health care but would be a radical change to our current system and unlikely to gain the support of the current Senate.  Health savings accounts have also been criticised by a number of experts for widening existing inequities in access to health care and increasing overall costs.


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